PCT 2018 Day 98, July 29, Sunday
Start mile 2344.5, campsite near cabin
End mile 2376.1, fire lane
Miles walked: 31.6
The path has many little ups and downs today, exhausting and not always necessary, and any views are obscured by haze from a fire. So I will chat about gear, and you are welcome to skip if not to your interest.
I wake up to an alarm from my phone. When summer days were longer I woke up to robins singing, but now I need a little more time to meet my self-imposed mileage goal.
I am not very tall, so I can sit up straight in the tent, a blue Zpacks Hexamid. This is not a dome tent, so requires several tent stakes, and the use of one trekking pole, but is wonderfully light-weight, about a pound.
My clothes bag is my mosquito headnet. At night, full of clothes not worn, it is a pillow when stuffed inside my hat. Things at once!
Reaching for the clothes bag, I pull out a long sleeve merino shirt, long nylon pants, wool socks, hat, and runners gaiters, which keep small rocks out of shoes. A bandana is hanging up to dry from my sponge-bath the night before, and is tied around my neck.
I put in the clothes bag my camp clothes: compression socks, a short sleeve merino shirt, and shorts, fleece hat, and neck gaiter which is used as sleep mask.
My down sleeping bag is stuffed into its own sack. My head-lamp next to my sleeping pad goes into my mesh tool bag.
My smaller mesh bag is for toiletries.
With my clothes on I start placing items in pockets. The cell phone and earbuds go into front left. The tent stake bag and tent stuff sack goes into the front right pocket, temporarily, along with sunglasses.
My sleeping pad is a torso-length foam pad that folds into thirds.
The sleeping pad doubles as signage.
My legs rest at night on my empty backpack, with shoes underneath. The pad goes into the backpack at my back, with the sleeping bag in the bottom, arranged with my wallet in a zip bag underneath so I can reach back anytime and check that it is there.
Now items are placed just outside the tent: water bottles, backpack, solar panel and charger and usb cable, food bag, tool bag, toiletries bag, and clothes bag.
Outside the tent myself, all tent stakes go immediately into the tent stake bag, careful not to lose any, and the stake bag it wedged in a special spot at the bottom of my backpack.
The tent is gathered and stuffed inside its sack, whick now goes on top of the sleeping bag in the backpack.
The food bag goes on top of the tent in my pack. Except today’s snacks in a zip bag go in the pack outer pocket, with the first two snacks inside my pack strap pocket.
A separate zip bag holds items for tonight’s dinner.
The clothes bag goes in my pack on top of the food bag, with tool bag, toiletries bag, and dinner bag on very top.
After closing the pack, the solar panel is clipped on top, with charger in the outer pocket.
Two one-liter water bottles go into pack side pockets, with a squeeze water filter screwed onto one water bottle. I can easily grab the bottles while wearing the pack.
The pack goes on, the cellphone goes into the pack strap pocket, I grab my carbon-fiber trekking poles, and time to hike!
My goal is to be on the trail within 30 minutes of waking.
In the evening, around 5PM, I start my first dinner soaking, since I am going no-cook and soaking might take a few hours. If using dehydrated cooked chicken or TVP cubes, I soak that separately. These go in double zip bags and in the pack outer pocket, to mitigate against leakage.
- My long sleeve merino shirt is not sturdy enough to resist abrasion from the pack. I am on my third shirt this trip. Next trip will try a nylon hiking shirt.
- Hiking in long sleeves is hot. I wanted protection from sun and bugs, but am ready to try shorts next trip, like the vast majority of hikers.
- My Altra shoes are letting in a lot of fine dirt, which easily passes through wool socks and sticks on my feet. A sponge bath is necessary every evening.
- Putting the day’s snack food in the outer pack pocket is not optimum, because it shifts the center of gravity backwards.
Finished audiobook A Room With a View, by E M Forster.